Houston Texans 2021 Fantasy Previewby Mike Fanelli August 24, 2021 0 comments
The Houston Texans won only four games last season. However, their offense was a friendly one for fantasy players. The Texans had four players average over 15 fantasy points per game last season, including Will Fuller. However, the Texan didn’t re-sign Fuller in the offseason, and Deshaun Watson’s future with the team is in serious doubt. Many expect the Texans to have the worst record in the NFL this year. That said, what can fantasy players expect from the Texans this season? Let’s dive into it.
Make sure to check out all of our other 2021 Fantasy Football Previews.
Quarterbacks – Tyrod Taylor, Davis Mills
Between his trade request and off-the-field situation, the chances Watson plays this season are very slim. However, if Watson plays for the Texans this season, he is a steal at his current ADP. Despite a limited supporting cast around him, Watson would still be a top-seven quarterback this season. However, with Watson out of the picture, Taylor will take over as the starter. The last time we saw Taylor as the full-time starter was in 2017 with the Buffalo Bills.
That year Taylor finished as the QB16, averaging 14.8 fantasy points per game. He scored over 19 fantasy points in only three games while scoring under 13 six times. While he will be the starter, at some point, the rookie Mills will get a shot under center. Mills was a top recruit coming out of high school, but injuries limited him in college. Leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft, some analysis viewed Mills as a sleeper and a potential starter down the road. However, unless in a deeper super flex league, no Texan quarterback is worth a draft pick.
Running Backs – David Johnson, Phillip Lindsay, Mark Ingram
In the offseason, the Texans signed every running back possible. They added Lindsay, Ingram, and Rex Burkhead to join Johnson in the backfield. However, all the Texans did was create a mess in their backfield without making it much better. While the Texans list Lindsay and Ingram as co-starters on their first unofficial depth chart, Johnson is still the first Texan running back drafted based on ADP. Last season, Johnson finished the year as the RB21 despite missing four games. On a point per game basis, Johnson finished as the RB15, averaging 15 per game. There is a chance the Texans release or trade Johnson before Week 1. Depending on where he lands, his fantasy value could take a hit. However, at his current ADP, Johnson is worth taking as a dart throw.
Of the running backs in the backfield, Lindsay has the most upside given his ADP. According to Fantasy Pros PPR ADP, Lindsay is selected on average as an early 13th round pick in 12 team leagues as the RB49. After his strong rookie season, averaging 14.9 fantasy points per game, Lindsay averaged 12.4 fantasy points per game in 2019 and only six last season. Furthermore, Lindsay’s yards per rushing attempt have declined every year of his career. If he can rebound to his form from 2019, Lindsay offers appeal as a mid RB3. Meanwhile, Ingram was signed as is a favorite of head coach David Culley. However, Ingram averaged a career-low 4.8 fantasy points per game in Baltimore last season. Until Ingram proves otherwise, he is undraftable in all leagues.
Wide Receivers – Brandin Cooks, Nico Collins, Anthony Miller
Last season, Cooks had 119 targets in 15 games, 10 short of his career-high 129 from 2015. However, he picked up his pay once Fuller got suspended. In the four games without Fuller, Cooks averaged 7.3 catches on 10.3 targets per game. Over a 17 game pace, Cooks would have had 175 targets last season without Fuller, easily setting a career-high. Furthermore, Cooks averaged 9.6 more fantasy points per game without Fuller in the lineup last season. While Watson is unlikely to play this season, Cooks will be the focal point of the passing attack. Despite the drop in quarterback play from Watson to Taylor and Mills, Cooks will see enough targets to be a weekly top 30 wide receiver.
Meanwhile, Watson set a career-high with 33 passing touchdowns last season. However, Fuller and Cooks were the only two members of the team with more than four. Fuller is now in Miami, while former starting tight end and red zone weapon, Darren Fells, is now in Detroit. The duo combined for 12 touchdowns last season. More importantly, Collins is the only wide receiver on the roster over 6’2”. During his time at Michigan, Collins was unguardable in the red zone and downfield. In his final two seasons for the Wolverines, Collins had a 17.3 percent touchdown rate. When the Texans get in the red zone or take shots downfield, expect Collins to have his number called often.
RELATED – Nico Collins Scouting Report
Behind Cooks and Collins is a list a mile long of below-average wide receivers, including Miller. The Texans traded for Miller to help replace Randall Cobb after sending him to the Green Bay Packers for a sixth-round pick. Miller will battle Keke Coutee, Chris Conley, and others for the third wide receiver role. Of those wide receivers, Miller is the favorite to land that job. In standard size leagues, Miller shouldn’t be drafted. However, fantasy players in deeper leagues should consider using one of their last picks on Miller, hoping he carves out a meaningful role for himself.
Tight Ends – Jordan Akins, Brevin Jordan
The last time the Texans had a tight end finish in the top-12 was Owen Daniels in 2012. Last season, Akins finished as the TE25, averaging 6.4 fantasy points per game. For his career, Akins has averaged 4.8 fantasy points per game and has three touchdowns. Akins is entering a contract year and shouldn’t be on any fantasy radars. However, a name to keep an eye on during the season is Jordan. The fifth-round rookie had a productive career at Miami and would have been a second or third-round pick if not for a poor combine performance. If he takes over as the starting tight end, the supporting cast around him is poor enough that he could turn into a streaming option.
Surprisingly, the Texans didn’t finish as the worse D/ST last season. Instead, they finished as the fourth-worst unit, averaging three fantasy points per game. They had a league-low three interceptions and 11 total interceptions. While the Texans did finish in the middle of the pack with 34 sacks, J.J. Watt led the way with five. The problem is the Texans released him early in the offseason, and he signed with the Arizona Cardinals. As bad some the offense will be this season, the defense will be even worse. Last season, the Texans D/ST scored negative fantasy points twice. Fantasy players should expect them to score negative fantasy points in close to half their games this season.
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